From Alison Shevlin - Irish Times Friday July 31st

ALMOST HALF of Dublin’s bathing areas contained faecal coliforms in excess of the EU guide limits, indicating a higher risk of waterborne diseases, according to new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures.

The EPA launched an online bathing water quality website called Splash yesterday, supplying information on the 131 designated bathing sites around the country.

Of the 131 bathing sites, water from 14 came back as over the EU guide limits for faecal coliforms, five of which where found in swimming areas around Dublin.

Faecal coliform bacteria in water are not harmful but they indicate a higher risk of pathogens being present in the water. Waterborne diseases linked to faecal coliform contamination can include ear infections, typhoid fever, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis, and hepatitis.

The site which provides the bathing areas compliance with EU bathing water quality standards found that Dublin as a whole had the worst quality bathing water.

The EU guide limits of faecal coliforms numbers is currently 100 in 100ml and 500 total coliforms in 100ml. Four of Dublin’s 14 swimming areas reported faecal coliforms in the region of 200 per 100ml. Loughshinny in the Fingal County Council area was one of the worst, reporting 510 faecal coliforms and 2,100 total coliforms. Mayo and Kerry had the best overall results each with all 15 bathing areas coming in considerably lower than EU guide limits.

According to the EPA’s Splash website, the cleanest bathing areas in Dublin are Sutton, Burrow Beach and Skerries both reporting fewer than nine total coliforms in the water. was developed in co-operation with IBM, An Taisce and Irish Water Safety. Bathing water quality data is uploaded directly to the site by local authorities.